Summer of Glow: Are Retinoids Safe on Vacation?

When you use Care Skincare, we say YES – with SPF!  

Once I applied Tireless Retinoid Night Serum by Care and saw the results, I knew I never wanted to give up the radiant skin tone or THE GLOW.  And all this was possible without the crazy effects I’d seen before from my prescription retinol (living with weird dry patches and redness just wasn’t worth any future benefit, in my opinion).   

Anyhow, when I met my friend for coffee one gorgeous summer morning (the kind of day you want to bask in), she bypassed the outdoor tables and went straight in.  “Don’t you want to sit in the sun?” I asked. “Yes – but I’m using retinol,” she sighed – and sure enough, I saw the telltale peeling.   

It got me thinking…even with proper sunscreen usage, are retinoid products safe in terms of daily sun exposure? Can we pack them for a beach vacation, or use them the night before a hike in the hot sun? 

We’re honored to speak today with Debbie D’Aquino, Head of Product Innovation for Care Skincare with the unofficial title of “rockstar” in the world of cosmetics and skincare product development. 

Q: Debbie, I hear these terms all the time – but what exactly is a retinoid, a retinol, and retinoic acid? 

A: The term “retinoids” refers to Vitamin A and the various compounds derived from Vitamin A.  Retinoids is essentially a basic umbrella term for both cosmetic brand retinols and prescription retinoic acid and have become the most effective rejuvenating creams in the global beauty market. Skin is a major retinoid-responsive tissue. Cells in both the epidermis and dermis contain proteins and receptors that facilitates the biological effects of Vitamin A in the skin.  

Q: Why do retinoids make our skin look so glowy and amazing? 

A: Simply by increasing cell turnover. Our skin sheds every 28 days and retinoids are something that helps it go through that shedding process a little faster.  It refreshes the skin’s surface more quickly, which brightens it, helps pores look better, and improves skin texture.  Retinoids also work at a much more profound level by affecting gene expression and causing enhanced collagen production, skin smoothing, and an evening of pigmentation.   

And although you may see some more immediate, visible, surface improvements in your skin, the real benefits come from continued use – a minimum of 12 weeks of use is recommended.  With this ingredient, compliance is KEY – use it every day. 

And retinoids are for all ages.  It’s a great way to rejuvenate skin at the surface which is where a younger clientele is seeing a lot of their issues.  

Q: Can you talk to us about why Care Skincare specifically uses Granactive Retinoid™ in the Tireless Retinoid Night Serum formula? 

A: What exactly is Granactive Retinoid™️? It is a delivery system for the active ingredient hydroxypinacolone retinoate (HPR), which is the newest retinoic acid ester.  As mentioned earlier, retinoic acid, also known as tretinoin or Retin-A, is the active form of Vitamin A, which binds directly to the skin cells’ retinoid receptors. HPR is said to be similarly active, since it does the same thing (and does not need to be converted, like retinol does).  And unlike Retin-A and retinol, HPR is unique in that it produces little to no irritation. 

What is also special about Tireless Retinoid Night Serum is the inclusion of other skin beneficial ingredients – Hyaluronic Acidcaffeine as a potent antioxidant, especially for skin exposed to UV light, a stable, penetrating form of Vitamin C that helps build collagen and defend against free radicals and Alpha-Arbutin, or bearberry extract, to reduce the look of hyperpigmentation. 

Q: What should we know about retinods and sun exposure? 

A: Using retinoids after sun exposure – at night – may also be a good thing.   They not only boost collagen production but may also have the potential to stop photoaging before it starts. They’ve been shown to prevent the rise of collagenase — the enzyme that breaks down collagen — after UV exposure. 

There is conflicting evidence that Vitamin A derivatives can increase photosensitivity, meaning skin can burn or irritate more easily. I would tend to believe that when the uppermost layers of the skin become a bit thinner, it allows for some skins to be more easily irritated by UV exposure. Interestingly – even with the increase in retinoid use in skin care products, no studies have looked at how much more SPF is required due to the increased vulnerability of the skin with retinoid use, but it is probably wise to increase your SPF use while using a retinoid in the summer months.  If you choose to wear a retinol during the day, boost your SPF because UV has been shown to deactivate Vitamin A. 

Q: What kind of sunscreen regimen do you recommend not only in the summer but year-round? 

A: I’ve read that up to 90% of premature aging comes from UV exposure – both UVA (damage year-round) as well as UVB (changes with seasons and location).  And because consumers do no use the required amount of sunscreen to adequately protect them all day, many feel that increasing your daily SPF protection from SPF 15 to SPF 30 is key to protecting from daily UV aging.  

With Thanks to Debbie, 


Photos by Jens Kreuter on Unsplash, Ethan Robertson, Jessica Ruscello  

Bio: Michelle is a former beauty executive and contributing writer who loves being part of the Care Skincare Team. She’s married with two small children who have more energy than all the drinks on a Starbucks menu.